This I Believe

Rick - Reidsville, Georgia
Entered on February 10, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
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I am seventeen, and I bet you think you understand. You only think you understand. People cannot perfectly understand each other. They can’t even understand themselves. Understanding a hundred percent of anything is impossible. So people endeavor to learn something about themselves and others. That’s what makes life interesting.

In today’s society it is especially evident that this is true. With all the books, programs, shows, etc. for helping you “find yourself”, apparently many people these days don’t understand themselves. With all the variables of the universe, and our limited intellect, it is impossible to fully understand anything. What is true today may not be true tomorrow, what is true here may not be true there. Look at science, its followers scoff at religion, yet it takes more faith to believe in science than most religions. Many parts of science are theories, hypotheses, summarizations of data, etc. Especially with the contemporary teenage generations, science and other ideas are just not that important and are not able to be grasped very well. This and other factors contribute to great “confusion” in a person’s dwelling upon themselves and others.

I do concede that we are able to understand many parts or most of some things, such as professions where the person has been doing their job for many years and perfecting their techniques through the understanding of the way things work. Honestly though, just think about the human brain. The two halves are connected only by a nerve bundle. In nature, this design would probably be used in the event that half the brain was destroyed, the creature could function. With all of the neurological data I’ve studied, we can see that the brain works by “dialectic”. Each half of the brain sees, hears, smells, and touches a slightly different world. They both tend toward specialization, but not a hard, fast split. An example: The left might have more language, but not all the language. The right might have more spatial perception, but not all the spatial perception. Almost as if our minds can argue with themselves. They can see the same event in different ways. A consensus of disputatious elements. Just think about trying to understand something or someone else when we can’t even understand ourselves. I’d be almost sure you’ve experienced a “Should I? Should I not?” debate, because I know I go through many of them.

A good example of how this makes life interesting is teenagers such as me making what we call “drama”. You know, gossip and what not. I do believe that in most cases this is to keep things interesting, or to learn more about themselves or others. They give this unwanted stimulus and analyze the reaction. Or they could just be doing it because they are mean, disturbed, the lashing out type, etc. Even in these cases though, they are showing how they understand themselves, or how others understand them to be. The “peer pressure effect” is more severe than I think anyone knows. Sometimes I catch even myself being caught in it. The way other people perceive you and the way they understand you to behave can be quite a brainwashing experience. As you can see, trying to understand ourselves and others keeps life interesting.

I often find myself recognizing many other subliminal aspects of people trying to understand themselves and/or others, since I have taken this aphorism to heart. I do suppose that in fact, the writing of this essay is indeed a way for me to try and understand some aspect about myself. Even with the futility of this enlightenment, we must at least try to understand ourselves. Because if we don’t, what else is there? This, I believe.